Stairway to Heaven


DSCN1806With my head down looking for stray weeds and new buds I had failed until today to notice that the Amelanchier lamarkii in the cobbled circle was in full flower and may have been so for a few days. Unlike the trees in the woodland and the hedge, which I can see from house, the position of this unassuming beauty is such that I am already distracted by other discoveries by the time I get to that part of the garden and I must have walked underneath it several times a day without noticing it either – maybe I could blame it on my lack of height, needing a stepladder to get in a position to capture the pinky white flowers and soft coppery leaves.

Whilst admiring the amelanchier, I also noticed how well the two blue & white beds are filling out; even this early in the season the existing plants are bulking up nicely, and although the only colour evident so far, apart from green,  is from pansies, muscari, brodiaea, brunnera and recycled hyacinths there is the suggestion of great promise from their companions. Both these beds were planted up for the first time last year, although a few plants came from a previous border, and even if there is no real coherence later there will be the substance to play around with, rearranging plants to benefit the borders.

Whilst weeding here yesterday, I realised that there were new shoots on the Caryopteris ‘Worcester Blue’ which was moved here from a pot because it was struggling and seemingly doomed to failure – not so, which was a pleasant surprise. What remains a mystery, though, is what this plant is:
It reappeared this year with fresh almost lime green shoots in February and it was a number of weeks before I realised that this was the same plant that I briefly mistook for a self-seeded cosmos last year. It grew to about 3 feet tall and although it looked as if it was going to produce flowers from the clusters of soft leaves it never did – so what is it? The leaves almost look herb-like and are beautifully finely cut, not too dissimilar to the geranium on its left. Any ideas anyone?

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16 Responses to Stairway to Heaven

  1. Pauline says:

    I agree Cathy, Amelanchier is such a lovely tree and should be in everyone’s garden for year round interest.Mine was in tight bud when we went away, but is now in full flower which we can see from the dining room and kitchen, it’s so pretty with its bronze leaves. Your mystery plant looks familiar but I can’t put a name to it unfortunately, sorry!

    • Cathy says:

      I know I don’t appreciate my amelanchier as much as I should – and it is looking especially lovely this year, as I am sure yours is too. Good that you can see it from your windows!

  2. Hi Cathy, spotted a feature about Amelanchier the other day (think it was in The Garden) and couldn’t help but envy you guys in the UK with all these beautiful varieties/selections available. When I think of your fab Plant Finder I’m close to a nervous breakdown 😉

    • Cathy says:

      I saw that article too, Annette – mine is a very ordinary variety though! Is it much easier to source a good range of plants in the UK then? Do you stock up when (and if) you are back in the UK?

      • Well, Cathy, you definitely have a much better range of plants available in the UK. On the continent it’s rather a challenge at times and very rewarding if you succeed 🙂
        Sadly I don’t get to the UK that often but I order bulbs, roses and sometimes other bits when English friends come visiting.

  3. Helen Johnstone says:

    I am slightly worried that my Amelanchier is going to get bigger than I expected having seen yours. They are such lovely plants and so underrated

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Helen – sorry if you’ve been left panicking! The picture must be a bit deceptive as it’s certainly no more than 12-15 feet tall and the canopy is very light and airy. These are not meant to grow more than about 20 feet – I have had this one for about 8 years and this year it looks better than ever. It looks stunning against a clear blue sky – hope yours does too!

  4. see you have been keeping busy Cathy, your new bed where the D… p…. was is looking good and I like the way the railings look as fence, I often find surprises when weeding that I had otherwise missed, I like your combination of cowslip and pulmonaria, you’ll have to remember to look up as well as down it would have been a shame if you had missed your amelanchier, your garden looks fair to bursting all your hard work and planning is being rewarded, Frances

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Frances – yes, there was such a lot of physical work involved last year, but April’s burgeoning shows SUCH a lot of promise for later that I am quietly confident I will have even more to be proud of later in the year even though the planting will still need tweaking. It has been a few years since I felt this degree of satisfaction and I am so pleased I can now share the garden with the blogging community as it would be selfish to keep it to myself. And you are right , of course, about looking up as well as down 😉

  5. I love your garden; it has the same feel as a hug from an old friend. It must give you a great deal of pleasure. Thank you for sharing.

  6. jackie says:

    Hi Cathy – I’m pretty sure your mystery plant is an Aconitum – either white or v pale blue hence the lime green leaves. One popped up in my garden a few years ago of its own accord (I think!)

    • Cathy says:

      Ahah! I have looked at my plant ‘bibles’ but they haven’t a close up picture of the leaves and I will have to Google to check properly but it sounds promising – and if it could be blue or white then there is every chance it is something I put in at some stage but it sat dormant for a bit. After all, it is in my blue & white border! I wonder why it didn’t get round to flowering last year as it grew to a sizeable plant. Thanks Jackie -I was really hoping somebody would recognise it and I shall confirm it on my blog when I am sure

  7. Anna says:

    Just to second Jackie’s thoughts on your mystery plant. The foliage looks the same as the aconitum plant in my cold frame 🙂 Will email you.

    • Cathy says:

      Ahah – thanks Anna. I haven’t managed to Google it yet so I look forward to seeing your email. I have read how poisonous it is though!

  8. Pingback: Being a Bit Picky | Rambling in the Garden

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